Why The Big Island Is An Amazing Place to Live – The People

Best Part of Hawaii? Her People

Hawaiian hula I wrote a post on my 365 Kona Facebook page about racism issues in Hawaii after two rather negative incidents I recently came across: One, a pointed comment I read on Amazon and the other in the comment section following a blog post about “Anyone Who Hates Hawaii, Can Just Shut up!

After discussing what I came across online, here is part of what I wrote on my post: “If you come to Hawaii as a haole and act like a haole, you will probably have a hard time understanding why the locals don’t like you. I think this is true for most Americans walking into another culture acting like we are the dominant culture..even when we tread on foreign land. Come with a smile, RESPECT, education about the culture and language, and leave the place better than you found it.”

I did not know what to expect from my fans when I posted my sentiments, and so I was overjoyed when comments started pouring in from so many people who have had fantastic experiences with the locals and native Hawaiians on the Big Island! The common thread, in a nutshell, was about showing respect for the host culture, being kind and showing Aloha yourself! You give what you get. Read on!

Shaughna: We’ve been asked about the racism in Hawaii and if we’ve noticed any. We have been treated like family by our Hawaiian neighbors; Invited to parties, brought food, educated about the ways of Hawaiian people. I am a firm believer that the energy you put out in the world is the energy you receive back. I love all things about this island and while I’m still learning about this amazing culture, I think the residents (locals) are amongst the kindest, most welcoming group of people I have ever met. Everyday I am grateful that Pele has welcomed us and that local families introduce me as Ohana. I love this island and it’s people.

Coryn: My husband and I have been to BI 4 times, about 2 weeks each time. We absolutely love it there and have hopes of moving to Aloha Keiki Kona with our young boys at some point. We have only ever experienced love and respect from the locals. Maybe that’s because we have nothing but love, respect and admiration for your island and culture. I could sit and listen to locals talk all day. I cry every time I have to leave and I count down the days until I can return, hoping that the next time I return it will be my “forever” destination. Being on the island as much as we have we do know that it’s not a fantasy, but the culture and history are rich and there is something about BI that makes it magical, even after the ‘sparkle’ has worn off. With love from Buffalo, NY.

Nancy: We were stationed on Oahu for a year and yes, did have some problems at the beginning. Now, since 2002, we go every year for 2 weeks to the Big Island and we are now called Kamaina and the locals in the little shops, the beach, the farmers market in Kailua-Kona remember us every year!! One year my sister couldn’t go and EVERYONE noticed her missing!!! Wonderful Island, beautiful people, great place!!! Mahalo

Joe: My wife and I were married on the BI and have returned many times until her passing. We respected the culture and in passing called auntie and uncle, a great show of respect in return. So if you can’t respect the land and the people, please don’t come. Leaves more for those of us that do to enjoy.

Cory: After hearing MANY stories of how the locals don’t like tourists, haoles, white people or mainlanders, I will say in our MANY visits to the big island we have never had a bad experience with any local. In fact, quite the opposite, they’re some of the friendliest people we’ve EVER met. We have made friends with a lot of locals and look forward to each and every trip to the big island.

Hawaiian Aloha spiritPam: We moved to the BI two years ago…retired here from the midwest. We respect and love the culture…and have been shown nothing but respect…being called “aunty” and “uncle” is heart warming. The Hawaiian people have shown so much Aloha.
Love to all ….may you all feel the spirit of Aloha.

When we all show respect for the people, culture and land, it changes the experience for everyone. Come with Aloha.

(Thinking about moving to the Big Island? Get more info!)


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Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at 365Kona.com and MoveToHawaii365.com and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

Leave a Question or Comment About this Topic

  • daveS says:

    I live on the mainland. I grew up in my 20s in the Islands..all of them..surfing , hiking trips. visiting friends North Shore. Growing weed on the Big Is. in Puna District.
    My first taste of Hawaii racism when I was riding down a side street on a bike..and two huge Hawaiian Men..*20s were walking on the side walk…guy was on same sidewalk walking opposite direction. The two Hawaiians filled the space and then some.
    The Haole….moved to the side…so did both Hawaiians…who started demanding this guy show them more respect….basically kicked his ass…why? For walking.
    I surfed North Shore…Lotta disrespect in the water….they would paddle right up into your face sometimes throw punches. You never knew.
    Big Island same way..when living in Puna District…lot of weed growers ran scared because they kept finding bodies of their grower friends around the district.
    Same thing with surfing….da bruddahs come out in water….point to their arm….and say….see this color? That the only color belong in these waters.
    Maui. not so much back in the day. But now…I am hearing reports from long time locals in Nahiku, Hana Town, that the violence is changing the towns culture…crack heads ran Hana Bay for a time…used to be familys hanging out and kids playing…a real community vibe…as of Aug 2017. Not anymore. I went to bay to smoke a doobie with a couple of friends of 30 years in Hana…and had evidently parked my rental car….: where the locals park” they were actually scared something was going to happen. I never had that fear 20 years ago in the same beach park ( Hana Bay)…I hear locals are also threatening both Haole Tourists and young hippies with the food trucks in town when the try to have social gathering at Koki Beach.
    I hear people , Mostly poor and destitute, have been disappearing. Literally, just vanishing overnight…
    So yes…DIRTY, DANGEROUS little Secret on Maui. I hear Pat Benatar left Hana because she was getting negative vibe….so sad…so much to love and appreciate…and yes…most people are awesome on all the islands. Hopefully Maui PD will grow a pair and get a handle on the bad apples. Be safe all. Wave, smile, leave,,,,

    • Wow..sorry for the late response on this comment. I just saw the movie, “Kuleana” which was filmed and based on Maui. Seems there have been some long running issues there. I am publishing your insights for the benefit of history for my readers. Mahalo.